Trip Report - Austria - AUG'96

WC Qualifying Match away to Austria, August 1996
Trip Journal from Alistair Leeson, Sheffield Tartan Army

Flew out to Vienna on the Wedensday, and arrived at 23.00. The accomodation place was shut and there was nothing to do, so me and a fellow Scot took the bus outside we thought to Vienna, but it was going to Bratislava. The first we knew about it was when a burly Slovak border guard built like a the gable end of a house got on the bus and demanded our passports. Notions of being expelled from the country came across my mind, but he was sound! Finally Bratislava came, absolutely sheeting down with rain at a bus station in the middle of nowhere. Well by chance the taxi driver spoke at bit of English, so he took us to a quaint hotel etc. In the morning we had a little problem with paying the bill but just gave her some Austrian Shillings which satisfied her.

We went into town on the Thursday and wanted some local money. No banks open, but by chance a money changing hole-in-the-wall. Put 10 quid in and got a stack of money out. Went around the corner and went to the nearest restuarant. At which I had a 3 course meal and 6 Budvars for less than a fiver, unbelievable...the Budvar were 30p for 500ml. So then we decided to stay another night and after calling at a few local hostelries went to the Accomodation place at the main railway station. In the foyer old ladies were grabbing hold of any person with rucksacks saying 'Accomodation'. After a dozen or so grannies we conceded and ended up staying in a pretty nice little place. After a few minutes of settling down the old dear took us into the kitchen and provided us with another feast (we were still full from the main restuarant), but we conceded.

The fodder (bubble and squeak type pancakes with cabbage/beetroot) was absolutely coated in fat, like the stuff from the war. Breakfast was more of the same. So we paid her with the confetti money obtained the day before, and she was overcome when we had paid the sum of 12 quid between us. She must have thought we had won the lottery. Hence we headed for Vienna by train.

Pre-match and post-match intoxication was absolutely tops! On the Friday, the so called meeting place in the supposedly only Irish pub, was a shambles as it really was only the size of a hallway in a house. Alas a stones throw away was another Irish Bar 'Molly Darcys' (suprisingly not called Dubliners). Sound big pub. OK, but in between the two was a large marquee...a large beer tent. On asking why a beer tent in such a strange place? The reply came it was the local fire stations 800th anniversary....this would be a good place for the Saturday afternoon!

On the Saturday afternoon part of the tressel tables were adorned with the tartan cladded Jocks and with the Austrian Tyrollean music playing Jocks were doing the Highland Fling with some of the locals. This was sound, in between the Tyrollean music the Bagpipes were playing and we started to do the Conga! In amongst all this one of the local waiters, adorned in lederhosen and a typical Austrian hat with the bushy thing (a local version of Marcel Marceau and Charlie Chaplin)...was having a scream by pulling up the kilts and making the locals laugh etc. Top man!! Beers were going down well and the atmosphere was really sound!

Got to the game half cut/ cut, in good heart with the locals, after gatecrashing on to the tram and metro! The surprising thing was that there was full strength beer on sale in the ground. This is the only decent thing about the game was the singing which lasted for 30 minutes after the game! The score was 0-0 and was very poor, the only downside of the holiday really.

The post match intoxication was supposedly in the beer tent, but alas this was shut! So the action transferred to Molly Darcy's. The whole night was a scream ... packed to the rafters with a partisan crowd in good voice.....better than the songs in the Eurovision song contest and certain Top 10 hits! Some of the time I was trying to teach a group of locals some of the Jock songs as their hymnbook consisted of 'Osterreich, Osterreich!'. But rather than coming out as 'Oh Flower of Scotland' it turned into 'Edelweiss von Osterreich', so I stopped. The downer was that the landlord called time at 3.30 when it was still heaving (apparently he didn't have a licence to open till 6 or whatever time).

Sunday was much the same, but on a lot lesser scale. Still the same result though.....3.30 in the morning.

Monday and Tuesday were tame Sightseeing trips around Vienna, with induced bevvying restricted to the evenings.

All in all a trip with the memory of the firemans beer tent and Bratislavan cuisine!

Alistair Leeson, Sheffield Tartan Army (E-Mail to )

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